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Can you Name the Largest Food Company in the World? (Part 2 of 2)

Touch the Soil News # 146 Forbes Magazine and News has been one of the closest followers of Cargill, its finances and its global footprint. In its November 23, 2104 issue, Forbes writer Dan Alexander provided some rare insights into what Cargill is presently doing: Creating a $100 million cocoa plant in Indonesia. Putting in a $91 million livestock-feed factory in Korea. Building a large dairy feed facility in India capable of producing 1.2 million metric tons a year. All in all, Cargill has poured more than $3 billion into upgraded facilities, acquisitions and new projects around the world over the past year. Besides being directly involved with food production,…

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Can you Name the Largest Food Company in the World? (Part 1 of 2)

Touch the Soil News # 145 Do you know who the world’s largest food company is? Many of us have not heard of this company because it is privately held and does not hit the news often. In fact, it is the largest privately held company in the United States. This does not mean that this company’s role in our food is as obscure as its name. It is a food behemoth that dominates all roads between the world’s farms and your dinner plate. The company’s vision is to be the global leader in nourishing people. Following are some facts of this company: This company has more descendants that are…

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Should Home Gardeners Get Into Producing Their Own Meat/Proteins?

Touch the Soil News # 130 The logistics of raising fruit and vegetables are one thing. The pursuit of meat and protein is another.  There has been a revival of backyard chickens for eggs and meat. More and more cities that had restrictions on urban chickens are lifting or reducing them. It is hard to imagine that in 1859, residents of Manhattan were keeping over 50,000 pigs in the city. Posing the question as to whether or not home gardeners should be concerned about their own meat stems from a more basic question: Should meatpacking be more decentralized and are meat companies getting to big? This question came again to…

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Food-Chain News Roundup

Touch the Soil News # 121 – includes 4 videos   Monsanto Blunders in its Approach to Buy Syngenta Swiss company Syngenta, has been dogged by Monsanto to sell itself to Monsanto (three tries so far). Monsanto has offered a deal worth $45 billion. However, Syngenta believes their company is worth far more than Monsanto’s proposal. In addition, Syngenta feels such merger is dangerous if it cannot be consummated without hang-ups and regulatory snags. Should the two companies try to merge and fail, it could hurt the value of Syngenta. Monsanto has agreed to put up a $2 billion safety net that would go to Syngenta should the deal fail.…

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How Far Will High Tech Take Food From Its Historical Roots?

TestTubeMeat

In many ways technology has assumed a favored position in our attitudes. We must therefore search our feelings carefully as to how much high tech food we want. High tech is coming to food production in a divergent number of ways. Americans spend approximately $1.5 trillion a year on food. There are profits to be made and technology to harness. Following are three samples of high-tech food entrepreneurs that have financial backing and actively looking to enter the mainstream markets. These are by no means the only applications of high tech in the wings. Lab-Grown Meat Professor Mark Post of Maastricht University in the Netherlands has cultured a beef patty…

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The Pain of Milk Production – Human and Animal

Fair-Oaks-Farm

In general, one of the driving forces shaping food and agriculture is a chronic repetition of farm prices below the cost of production. It has brought consolidation in farm numbers, loss of the family farm, incented poor soil stewardship and brought some scary technology to the world. This is also true for the dairy industry. A few years back, when working as an agricultural credit officer for one of the nation’s largest agricultural banks, I was handling a large dairy portfolio. When milk prices dropped, some dairy farmers pushed their cows to the limits. I remember hearing about challenge feeding – a practice of getting cows to eat more so…

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The Need for Protein in Human Diets – Enter the Cricket

Friedcrickets.Thailand

Three forces are converging to change what the world will eat in the future: Continued population growth pushing the limits of farmland and water resources. Widespread economic austerity that seeks low cost and high resource efficiency in the food chain. Business models that can wrest a profit amidst forces 1 and 2. A cornerstone of any diet is protein. The three forces listed above have brought protein to the world via practices that have been criticized or condemned. Most meats come from animals administered hormones, antibiotics and life in confined animal feeding operations. These confined environments are ripe for diseases were it not for rigid drug intervention. Dairy and poultry…

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Old New MacDonald Had a Farm – eee iii eee iii ooo

SprayPlane

What is a farm and what is food? I remember my shock when learning about Roundup Ready GMO corn. The corn has been tampered with to create toxins. When the corn borer eats the corn, it kills the pest. Since when does a plant – whose role is to be a pesticide – become food? Most sweeteners, especially in soft drinks, come from corn sweeteners sourced from GMO Roundup Ready corn. In my previous life, as a consultant to stressed farms, many of my clients raised sugar beets. Controlling weeds was a major problem. Around 2008, the sugar beet industry – nationwide – converted to GMO sugar beets. The sugar…

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Clean Meats – A Brother to Organic Vegetables

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In days past, clean meats had a biblical connotation – what meats are appropriate for people to consume. In modern times, clean meat means clean of antibiotics, growth hormones and drug products popular in medicated animal feeds. If you are like most people, the cost of clean meat coupled with the stories about confined animal feeding operations is a tough one to resolve. It leaves one with misgivings about consuming non-clean meats or struggling to justify the more costly alternative. In our local organic store, hamburger from grass fed cattle not administered hormones is $9.99 per lb. At the local discount store, regular hamburger costs $3.98 lb. So is the…

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